Metta (Loving-Kindness): The Practice of Universal Love

Metta, also known as loving kindness, is an attitude of universal love that is radiated to all living beings in the world without discrimination. In Buddhist teachings it is said that there are four divine states of mind which are naturally and unceasingly experienced by those who are enlightened. They are metta (loving-kindness), compassion, joy and equanimity. Together they are called the Four Immeasurables or the Four Brahma-Viharas. By training in these states of mind through meditation we can tap into these divine states and create the causes for experiencing happiness now and in the future.

In this video, I look at cultivating the first of these divine thoughts: metta. In particular, I describe what metta is, what are the advantages in practicing it, what are some of the obstacles that might prevent us from cultivating genuine loving-kindness, and I highlight some practical tips that we can employ to ensure our formal metta meditation practice is a success.

You can join me in a guided metta (loving-kindness) meditation here.

In the Tripitaka, the Buddha taught the Karaniya Metta Sutta which is a beautiful sutra explaining how loving-kindness should be practiced and is often chanted in the Theravadin Buddhist monasteries. A recording of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia beautifully chanting the Karaniya Metta Sutta can be listened to here. It includes the English in full in their video description so you can follow along. The sutra is also available here on the Access to Insight website.

“Real peace and happiness has to come from the heart, from within. So therefore, to eliminate wars and destroying each other, to eliminate famine, disease and earthquakes, and to eliminate all other disasters and unfavourable experiences, all this can be stopped by having loving kindness toward each other. From having a good heart with loving kindness, negative action cannot arise.” ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Copyright notice: if you wish to reproduce the quote in this video please be aware of the copyright notice from the Access to Insight website. ©1987 Buddhist Publication Society. Positive Response: How to Meet Evil With Good by Acharya Buddharakkhita (Bodhi Leaves No. 109; Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1987). Transcribed from the print edition for Access to Insight by a volunteer, with the kind permission of the Buddhist Publication Society. Last revised on 30 June 2010. You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge and, in the case of reprinting, only in quantities of no more than 50 copies; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work. Otherwise, all rights reserved. How to cite this document (one suggested style): “Kakacupama Sutta: The Parable of the Saw” (MN 21), translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Access to Insight, 30 June 2010, Retrieved on 27 October 2013.

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